Polis | Konstantinos Tzavelas
In this beautiful poem by C.P. Cavafy, we can understand the poet’s emotional state in that period. He is overcome by pessimism and sadness. He is trapped into the city (polis) and desires to escape the unpleasant reality. In the series of images that I present, I tried to understand the similarities with my own emotional state, during this period of confinement, due to the pandemic.
The City | Constantine P. Cavafy
You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried like something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”
You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn gray in these same houses.
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.
C. P. Cavafy, "The City" from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Translation Copyright © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Reproduced with permission of Princeton University Press
Source: C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1975)